Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of H. Gregory Thomas, 1959
Not on view
When Chanel reopened her design house following World War II, she faced the task of reinterpreting and updating her signature design elements for the post-War era. This dress exemplifies how the designer met this challenge. Working with the conventional hour-glass silhouette of the period, Chanel marks this dress as her own through her use of ruffled black chiffon, a textile she frequently employed for evening wear the 1930s. Rather than applying the ruffles in horizontal tiers, she used vertical rows to emphasize the conical shape of the skirt. The construction of the bodice, however, best illustrates her characteristic bold approach. The unlined net leaves the bodice sheer, revealing the interior construction of the dress. The heavy boning and placement of the labels directly on the net indicates no additional foundation garment or slip was intended, making this dress as seductive as a Chanel's creations from the 1920s and 1930s.